Manassas man pleads guilty to defrauding Amazon of more than $300,000 through return scheme

Virginia

ALEXANDRIA, Va. (WAVY) — A Manassas man has pleaded guilty to defrauding Amazon.com of more than $300,000 through a mail fraud scheme.

According to the U.S. Department of Justice, Farhaad Riyaz, 34, pleaded guilty in federal court in Alexandria, Virginia, Monday.

Riyaz used multiple Amazon accounts to buy high-end items online. He’d have the items shipped to his home, then claim the item was late or not as described online. Then, Riyaz returned a similar item of “significantly” lesser value in its place, the DOJ said. He’d send the item back to Amazon via UPS, and Amazon would give him the original purchase price back.

The DOJ said in June 2019, Riyaz bought a rare Fender Telecaster electric guitar for about $2,600 from Amazon. He returned a Squier Telecaster electric guitar of the same color in its place. The second guitar cost him about $400.

Riyaz also fraudulently acquired a $37,000 home theater system by returning a $2,000 model. He fraudulently obtained multiple $4,400 toilets with electric bidets, the DOJ said.

Riyaz faces up to 20 years in prison when sentenced March 22. Sentences for federal crimes are usually less than the maximum penalties.

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